While I still feel inadequately ready to write about my retreat last weekend, it’s time. It’s also time for my February giveaway and I couldn’t think of a more appropriate one than Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Lifeby Karen Maezen Miller. It’s the book that has recently shifted my perspective, which has helped me embrace the freedom I have in my life.
* Giveaway details at bottom of post if you want to skip reading post.
I woke up much earlier than normal last Saturday as the sun was rising. Set my GPS to Pacific Grove, CA – destination: Asilomar Retreat Center. A playlist of specifically chosen songs to encourage grounding accompanied me and I sang my heart out as I drove for nearly two hours. And then, it was time to be quiet. I knew it was time to be quiet because the scenery commanded it. Finally reaching the coastline, I knew I was near my destination. The sun was out. The sky was clear. I continued down a tree-paved road right into retreat.
With the same butterflies in my stomach that have been with me since I can remember as a child, I found my way through the maze of the grounds to the Sea Galaxy conference room and entered the large vaulted room. I spotted Maezen immediately in her black Zen robes, short and swift stature, inviting countenance. She knew me right away, somehow, and said my name. Confirming, I smiled. She smiled back, proceeded toward me gracefully and full of warmth, hugged and welcomed me.
An unknown angel gave me a scholarship to this retreat, and I’m really so grateful. I’m not sure who to thank, whether Maezen herself (which, of course, I did), or someone else. So, please consider my thanks, if you are reading.
During retreat we listened to wise words and ideas from Maezen, did a little yoga, a little meditation (which is really just paying attention to your breath silently), and explored the refuge by the sea and the beach. My biggest take aways from retreat were:
- paying attention – being present wherever you are, whomever you’re with.
- attention is love – there is not greater love you can show someone than when you are paying attention to them fully.
- your child needs an hour of your attention, every day.
- if you stop running, they will stop chasing.
- if you give them the hour they need, you have stopped running.
- trust your life.
I also learned when it’s time to be sad, when it’s time to cry, when it’s time to mourn or grieve, when it’s time to be happy, when it’s time to feel joy. It’s time when you are. It’s time to be sad when you are sad. It sounds simple, yet we make it so hard, disallowing ourselves to feel what we are feeling because somehow we feel we shouldn’t.
Asilomar faces the Pacific Ocean. Pacific means peace. If we want peace, we must face peace.
I can’t recommend Hand Wash Cold enough. It specifically helped me on the road to embracing my life I have versus the one I pine for ever day. And though my life is Ordinary – I can make it extraordinary by finding joy in the maintenance of it.
*** Giveaway Details on My Blog ***
Must Enter Giveaway at: Angela DiGiovanni | Living Out Loud
Contest closes at 11:59pm (pst) Sunday, February 20th.
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